Gordon Banks, England’s 1966 World Cup-winning goalkeeper, has died aged 81.
Banks earned 73 caps for England, and won the League Cup with both Leicester City and Stoke City. He was also named Fifa goalkeeper of the year six times for his skill, prowess and good natured love of the beautiful game.
Still, Banks of England as he was popularly known, will be remembered as one of the greats of English football, after playing in goal for Sir Alf Ramsey’s legendary side.
The Banks family announced their loss the morning after he passed away on Monday 11 February, 2019, reports the BBC.
It is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight.
We are devastated to lose him but we have so many happy memories and could not have been more proud of him.
Now, tributes have flooded Twitter for the late, great sportsman:
An absolute legend and a true gentleman. Rest well Gordon Banks. pic.twitter.com/hojWQlyyl9
— Simon Thomas (@SimonThomasSky) February 12, 2019
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) February 12, 2019
Gary Lineker wrote:
Oh no. Gordon Banks, an absolute hero of mine, and countless others, has died. @England’s World Cup winner was one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, and such a lovely, lovely man. #RIPGordon
A highlight of his career has to be the wonder save – a display of intense athleticism – to thwart Pelé in 1970, which has since been lauded as one of the greatest feats of goalkeeping.
His gravity-defying save of Pelé’s lunging header in Mexico 1970 became known as the save of the century, reports The Guardian, but Banks was absent due to illness in the quarter-final defeat to West Germany.
Banks later recalled:
As I got to my feet, Pelé came up to me and patted me on the back. ‘I thought that was a goal’, he said. ‘You and me both,’ I replied.
The TV footage of the game shows me laughing as I turn to take up my position for the corner. I was laughing at what Bobby Moore had just said to me.
‘You’re getting too old Banksy, you used to hold on to them.’ Like hell I did.
Banks’ playing career was brought to an abrupt end in 1972 when a car accident robbed him of sight in one eye.
After stints in the United States for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 1977 and 1978, Banks briefly managed Telford United, but quit the game after he was sacked in December 1980.
In December 2015, it was announced he was receiving treatment for kidney cancer.
What a legend. RIP Gordon.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.